Alex Casey reflects on the most dramatic season of Married at First Sight in history.
Looks like we made it. Three months. 41 episodes. Well over 60 hours. Two cheating scandals. One multi-million dollar fraud conviction. One virginity lost. Zero moments of calm. This season of Married at First Sight has truly been like no other, taking a group of very beautiful people to a very ugly place and leaving them there. It’s a season that launched a thousand petitions, one that has been called “tawdry” and an “outrage” and “total trash.” And that’s even before Martha poured wine on Cyrell’s head.
Trash it may be, but one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Allow me to polish up some turds, pan for gold in the toilet and award this season of MAFS the accolades it definitely doesn’t deserve.
The Al Green award for services to romance
Winner: Jules and Cam for being perfect and disgusting and perfect
Let’s get these two out of the way. Mine eyes hath never cried the way they cried during the most movie magic moment of the whole season. Taking the dance floor in front of everyone to do their first rambunctious jig as husband and wife, the pair stood their awkwardly as the PA crapped out and the silence became deafening. Taking Jules’ hands, Cam began to dance to absolutely nothing, before inviting all their friends and family to a silent disco without the music or the pingers. I carry your heart in my heart, Cam and Jules.
The BP award for services to gaslighting
Say what you will about this season of MAFS, but there’s not denying that it allowed a huge mainstream audience to see what the mindfuckery known as gaslighting looks like. The term was coined in a 1938 play in which a husband convinces his wife that she has lost her mind by changing small things around her – one of them being dimming the gas lights. How gorgeous to think, 81 years later, that Mike is still holding that gaslight flame high.
You can bookend Mike’s gassy journey with two illustrative moments in the experiment: the first was during their honeymoon when, after opening up about her childhood trauma, Mike dismissed Heidi’s emotions completely and told her that he was “not her therapist.” During their final date, Mike hired a enormous boat, knowing full well that Heidi gets extremely bad seasickness and then berated her for not wanting to climb to the crow’s nest.
The next day, she apologised to him for not being enthusiastic enough. Mike really sucks.
The Sunday Roast ribbon for best insult
Winner: Cyrell vs. Sam
The only choice.
Runner-up: Mick vs. Jess
Visceral. Starchy. Luvvit.
The Ted E. Bear award for terrible picnics
Winner: Mick’s Romance Bag O’ Goodies
A hearty congratulations to Mick’s guilty poolside platter, his shaved-ham-based apology after he divulged intimate details from he and Jess’s relationship to the amorphous blob scientists refer to as “the boys”. It was an absolute shitshow, with deli counter plastic baggies of cold cuts, finnicky packets of baby carrots, unopened dips and approximately 400,000 napkins. Ah yes, what every pool needs: more ham.
Runner-up: Lizzie’s indoor picnic with Sam. The mini-muffins. The viscose as hell Nutella. The strawberries. I can still hear the screaming when I close my eyes at night.
The Mike award for not actually being a therapist
Winner: the experts (all).
It’s not like they did nothing. Sometimes they drank water. Other times they furrowed their brows. Other times they muttered “this will be interesting.” Given all the drama, lying, cheating and generally deplorable situations of this season, you’d think this would have been the time for the experts to shine. Instead, they frequently sided with Mike and made Heidi think she was entirely to blame for their relationship problems, focussed more on bad language than bad behaviour, and allowed cheaters Jess and Dan to return to the experiment because everything is made up and the sanctity of fake TV marriage doesn’t matter.
The Jordy Pordy award for bum-related content
Look, it’s just not an Antipodean reality show if it doesn’t have a good dose of rump for your nerves. And this season of MAFS had it all: coast to coast, cheek to crack, bums all the way down. The first bum shot came from Mike, who ironically also has a butt for a head.
Then there was Nic, who made up with Cyrell after a gnarly argument by getting his butt waxed.
But the lord of the bums has to be our bowtie Billy, who is so dedicated to mooning us all that he immortalised his derriere forever in a tasteful black and white calendar. Special mention to his buttcrack peeking from his boardies as he stormed away after his beachfront fight with Susie. A master of the form, a posterior for all of posterity.
The Heston Blumenthal award for culinary innovation
Winner: Lizzie heating up her pizza in the toaster.
Every now and again, someone can just walk into your life, do an everyday task ever so slightly differently, and throw your whole world off its axis. I can remember two distinct moments that this has happened for me. The first is seeing my fellow Real Pod host Jane Yee hang up her socks with one sock on either side of the line, pegged at the cuff in the middle. Prior to this moment, I had always folded both socks over the line together in an impossible wad. Amateur.
The second life-changing moment came from none other than our winged eyeliner queen Lizzie on MAFS. Left to mooch around her hotel room alone – her husband Sam was at a “funeral” – she took to eating family size blocks of chocolate and wearing a large felt hat that still had the tags on. We’ve all been there. But her kookiest move came one morning when she rolled out of bed, took a piece of stale pizza from the box, and reheated it in the toaster.
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.
The UB40 award for commitment to red, red wine
Winner: Martha and the great red wine toss.
Look, I’m not endorsing this as something that a person should ever do to another person because a) it’s not very nice and b) red wine stains to hell and back again (trust me, I’ve spewed red wine on a few denim jackets in my time). But the moment that Martha poured her red wine over Cyrell’s head is honestly MAFS’ Red Wedding. It doesn’t get any better, or any worse, than this.
Runner-up: Cyrell’s great wine spit of 2019.
Never forget the time that Cyrell punk’d Nic to hell by feeding him Filipino delicacies including chicken feet and some kind of goose egg. As Nic tentatively slurped the raw yolk, Cyrell couldn’t contain the cyclone no more. She lost it. She Hughesy Loses-ed it. All over the bloody table.
The Dei Hamo you a liar award for being a liar
Winner: Jessika Power
First of all, I get that you might be angry at the world for your surname being one ‘S’ away from the funniest surname of all time. Secondly, I want to make a ‘no one man should have all that power’ joke. Thirdly, Jess lied a lot more than anyone else on this show. Granted, so did Ines, Sam and Dan, but she’s the only one who sat on the couch, week after week, and made up some rich Mad Butcher tripe about still being there for the right reasons. All the while, she was leading on Mick and making out with someone else’s husband. That’s not okay (I promise).
Runner-up: Snakey Sam.
There’s no denying that, if Sam wasn’t such a coward and piked out of the reunion episode, he would have definitely told as many lies on that couch as Jessika did. Also his haircut is terrible. His lie-fest, however septic, was condensed to a couple of weeks, and not drawn out like Jess’ death march to hell.
The Peter Alexander award for worst pyjamas
Winner: Bronson’s Australia onesie
Honest to Jesus Christ Superstar, Bronson lolling about in this Lala nightmare is one of my top five favourite things to happen on this season. There’s such a funny misguided optimism to it, like he clearly chose it thinking it would make him seem a) kooky and endearing b) a nationalist c) like a big sexy Aussie baby (nee dingo). I stan a onesie legend.
Runner-up: Mark for this absolute Donald Duck at the disco (all top, no bottom)
All I’m saying is, that delightful breakfast tray is resting right on his bare genitals. That’s all I’m saying. Also shout out to all the boys who wore boardies to bed.
The Ariana Grande certificate for sweetener drama
Winner: Susie and Billy
He was a boy, she was a girl, can I make it anymore obvious? She craved Splenda, he couldn’t locate, what more can I say? On the home stay visit, doomed couple Susie and Billy had yet another fight because Billy couldn’t find the sweetener was for her morning coffee. Turns out it’s because they were staying in an Air BNB and not his real house. Susie accused him of lying about the sweetener, Billy stormed off and cried on the beach. Another day in paradise.
The Rodney Wayne award for best hair
My Carrie Bradshaw queen. You deserve so much better than that spud of a man.
My Disney Prince.
The Milo and Otis award for most unlikely alliance
Winner: Ines and Elizabeth
Despite sleeping with Lizzie’s husband during the experiment, Ines somehow became one of Lizzie’s strongest allies during the final reunion special. “She’s right” Ines said on the couch as Lizzie revisited Sam’s manipulation of her, “she’s like… full right.” Backing up Lizzie’s claims that Sam was a gaslighting cowardly shitbag just like his Dad Mike, there was a bizarre moment of camaraderie in the most unlikely of places.
“It’s so weird looking back on Elizabeth and I’s relationship,” Ines told Honey after the reunion. “I think it all really came down to Sam – he was telling me that she was a bad person, and I liked him, so I wanted to protect him. And then to her, I think he was doing the same, so we just didn’t like each other.” Don’t get too excited though, Lizzie later said that she doesn’t need Ines in her life and that she didn’t think it “would be beneficial on any level.”
The Fiji Water trotie for best supporting cast
Winner: Ivan, but also everyone.
There are too many good options for this coveted prize, truly a supporting cast for the ages. Cyrell’s constantly enraged brother Ivan stole every scene he prowled his way into, whether it was when he told Nic to fuck off, told Nic to fuck off, or told Nic to fuck off. But then what about Jessika’s terrifying hot felon brother? ARGH WHAT ABOUT BROXI, MICK’S BEST MAN WHO OPENED HIS SPEECH WITH AN ANECDOTE ABOUT MICK WANKING AFTER TAKING A VIAGRA?????
We must also consider hair. Martha’s mum had dope pink hair, but then Susie’s Dad might as well have been called Eddie, because he had one Red MANE. There’s also the opulent bearded celebrant who wed Dan and Tamara, and we definitely can’t forget the ponytailed photographer whose sole purpose in life seems to be taking naked pictures of Billy. I also think he lives in Billy’s cupboard. Maybe he knows where the sweetener is?
The Joey award for most dreaded spinoff product
Winner: Mike’s new podcast
After the last season of MAFS Australia we got The Seany Show, a powerful piece of podcast performance art by the man with the gold jacket and the frosted tips. Alas, this season’s podcast prodigy is far less dazzling. Last week, Mike announced that he would be launching a RELATIONSHIP podcast called I’M NOT YOUR THERAPIST in which he will dish out POIGNANT ADVICE.
“I’ve enjoyed the whole media experience but I feel as though the nature of radio and television is all too brief,” he told The Daily Mail. “I’d like to have long form discussions about topics that concern me and I’d like to explore those at length.” Ah yes, I would love nothing more than to spend 45 minutes being mansplained to by a man wearing a chunky ring that literally says his own name on it.
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Runner-up: Sam’s new Youtube channel
In an attempt to revamp his image, Sam appears to be launching a prank Youtube channel where he runs around in public in a T-Rex costume. Not today, cupcake. Not today.
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